Therapy with the elderly: introducing psychodynamic psychotherapy to the multi-disciplinary team.
Stern JM., Lovestone S.
Psychotherapy with the elderly has tended to be restricted to family or behavioural paradigms with some contribution from cognitive approaches, but at least until recently, very little input from psychodynamic therapy. The reasons for this are discussed and include both patient and therapist factors. Freud himself was pessimistic regarding the prospects of working with the elderly, a viewpoint he changed as he aged. As the discipline of old age psychiatry also matures there may be increasing scope for collaboration between the mental health of the elderly teams and psychodynamically orientated therapists. We describe here one model of such collaboration, a weekly case discussion seminar, conducted in an acute admission old age psychiatry in-patient unit. The role of the seminar in discussing difficult cases will be described and a case will be discussed to illustrate the work. Finally, recommendations for broadening the scope of the work are advanced.